injury-time header from Harry Davis sees Alex grab point from nowhere
Harry Davis headed a stoppage time equaliser to salvage what could be a vital point for Crewe Alexandra against fellow strugglers Oldham Athletic.
Seven minutes of stoppage time had been collated after Mark Ellis had suffered a head and shoulder injury. He was forced off and had to be replaced by Kelvin Mellor. Davis was in the right place at the right time to head a home a George Evans corner in injury-time after Chuks Aneke had forced Oldham’s goalkeeper Paul Rachubka into his first meaningful save of the game from a well struck free-kick.
Oldham had taken the lead on 52 minutes thanks to their dangerous winger Gary Harkins and his strike looked to have been enough to seal the three points for Lee Johnson’s side until Harry Davis’ late equalising goal. It was his fourth goal of the season and his first since Carlisle away back in November. Crewe didn’t hit the heights of late, and it was a frustrating performance but they once again showed some spirit to grab a point when not playing well.
Manager Steve Davis welcomed back a fit-again Abdul Osman into his squad but the club captain had to settle for a place on a strong looking substitutes’ bench. Crewe Alexandra had the luxury of naming an unchanged side for the visit of Oldham Athletic. The same starting eleven that were unfortunate to only collect a point away at Walsall, face Lee Johnson’s side at a blustery Gresty Road.
The on-loan winger Cameron Park was presented with an early opportunity after a wayward cross field pass landed in his path, but rather taken by surprise in the opening minute of the game he couldn’t take full advantage and failed to break through on goal.
Crewe had to deal with an early free-kick delivered by Gary Harkins and were rather fortunate that the towering Johnson-Clarke-Harris could only direct his header wide of Ben Garratt’s far post.
Park, starting on the right side, was involved again minutes later but after he and Matt Tootle had combined, the ball was played into the in-form Chuks Aneke but his instant shot was blocked on the edge of the penalty area.
After those early half chances, the game became a bit scrappy with both sides hitting the front as soon as possible and in the wind it was tricky for the likes of Mathias Pogba and Aneke to get hold of it on a regular basis. The ball wasn’t sticking enough in the final third in both halves.
Oldham were well drilled and organised and it was difficult for Crewe to get in behind them. We had to rely on some mistakes and Pogba couldn’t take advantage of a slip by James Wilson. Aneke was also crowded out on the edge of the box after Brad Inman had carried the ball into the final third.
Crewe had to remain patient and try to break Oldham down and clear goal scoring chances were limited to say the least. Park had an encouraging run across the box but didn’t pull the trigger before Hawkins hit a free-kick into the Crewe wall after Evans had been penalised for a trip on the same player.
Hawkins was the main threat with his strength down the Crewe right hand side and he had a turn and shot from a Grounds throw-in that was straight at Garratt. There was also a short stoppage after the brave Ellis had clashed heads at a corner with Grounds.
The Oldham captain James Wesolowksi was booked for a pull back on Inman, who had switched wingers with Park to see if they could have a bigger impact on the game.
pretty uneventful first half drawing to a close, the covering Anthony Grant did superbly well to track a run from Danny Philliskirk and Crewe had to survive a late scare when a Philliskirk cross-shot from close to the by-line needed a touch from the gloves of Garratt. With a
lex attack broke down, David Worrell sent a searching pass out to Harkins and the outstanding player on the pitch cut in from the wing before unleashing a shot that defeated Garratt at this near post. AOldham took the lead on 52 minutes after hitting Crewe on a swift break. After an
In an attempt to add some zest, Steve Davis introduced Vadaine Oliver for the out-of-sorts Pogba. Crewe were struggling to break them down and the frustration was growing. They had been well organised and set-up to hit Crewe on the counter-attack and now they had the advantage to defend.
Park was presented with a half chance as he raced in on the far post but he neither shot or cross as he reached Inman’s deep cross.
At the other end, Jon Guthrie did superbly well to cut out a dangerous looking cross from Philliskirk after more good work from Harkins. Guthrie’s touch allowed Garratt to pounce on the loose ball.
Oliver was caught in possession close to the touchline and was fortune to see Johnson Clarke-Harris shoot wide after another purposeful break. Crewe were still in the encounter and Park made way for Uche Ikpeazu as the Alex tried to create some genuine chances.
Steve Davis' last substitution was forced with Ellis suffering a shoulder injury. Kelvin Mellor replaced him to over some great attacking threat from the flank. Guthrie moved into the centre.
After Grant was booked for catching Wilson, Clarke-Harris smashed his free-kick into the bottom of the Crewe wall.
Evans continued to hit the first man from corners and Crewe were lucky not to be caught out on the break. He would thankfully save his best til last.
With time running out, Aneke was trying to get hold of the ball and make things happen. He was given a late opportunity from a free-kick and his dipping curler had to be tipped over by Rachubka. It was a fine effort and a splendid save. Evans got his corner right and there was Davis at the far post heading home to grab an unlikely point after a disappointing performance.